Monday, November 09, 2009

Cannonball Read 2.0_01: Something from the Nightside - Simon R. Green

Something from the Nightside - Simon R. Green. (New York, Ace 2003), ISBN 0-441-01065-2

I've only spent weeks mentally preparing myself for the Cannonball Read, only of find myself in the first week, completely stymied by a book that simply wasn't very interesting.

I am a big fan and constant consumer of most of the early entries into the "urban fantasy" genre. I specify "early entries" because you will not find a lot of copycats on the supermarket and rug store racks, and most of them aren't much good. All of the vampires and werewolves have been taken.

"Something from the Nightside" starts off with such a derivative steal from Hammett and Sam Spade that I very nearly dropped it and took up something else. Naturally it starts off in a seedy detective's office, where he also lives, and naturally, a dame walks in and the case begins.

The PI in our case, Taylor, promises something different but it is quite a while before we get there. Instead of Chandler's "mean streets", however, we are given "the Nightside", and alternate reality in the middle of London where it is always 3am and raining, and where every single interdimensional and magical beastie can make their home in an urban setting. Taylor, himself, plays like a Harry Potter gone to seed.

It is fun to watch Taylor, in his white trenchcoat, make his way through this twisted landscape, which resembles nothing so much as a low-down version of Rowling's "Diagon Alley", and encounter everything from time travel through alternate realities, and Lovecraftian beasts-from-beyond, and everyone and everything has good reason to want you dead.

It is obvious that "Something from the Nightside" is intended as the opening of the series, and luckily I was fascinated enough by the Nightside to want to explore future stories, but there is not much besides knowing that to take you through to the next book. There are ten books in the Nightside series, however, so I'm sure that I will look into more of them.

Pajiba's Cannonball Read - 52 books, 52 reviews.

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